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Month in Review | June 2016



Hello, blogger friends! I do hope this past month has been good to you. Many things happened in the month of June – the official start of summer being one of them, not to mention June marks the halfway point of the year, and right around the corner peeks the Independence Day holiday. My uncle always says July 4th marks the halfway point of summer and if you look at Memorial day as the “unofficial” star of summer and Labor Day as an unofficial end, he’s right. How crazy fast has this year gone!? 
 
The blog had a crazy good month speaking of one day in particular, which was amazing because of the reader volume. So... if any of you who helped aid that are still hanging out here, thank you.

Another month’s close means another “month in review” here on Finding Wonderland. Let’s take a look. 

…..Favorites from June 2016….. 

1. Blog News | Okay, so first things first. Pardon the "dust." I'm still working on getting my current layout in tip-top shape with little tweaks here and there. If you're encountering any problems with this one, please let me know. I can only see/test it on the browsers/devices I have, all of which look fine.

Secondly, remember that blog series I was talking about? Well I delayed sharing the post because I first decided to get in touch with a few potential participants to see what they thought and if they'd be willing to join in. I've had some interest so sometime in the next two weeks, I'll be sharing the post and see what you, the reader thinks.

Please, do feel free to offer ideas and/or comment with things you'd like to see. My tentative idea is to open this one up to YOU the reader (with a form) in order to answer some queries you may have about blogging or anything related to book blogging content.

2. Nikon Camera | I broke (a story I won't share because, well, it's not all that interesting) my trusty GE camera, which was nothing fancy, but still... relied upon. Though still usable I cannot use it any longer with my tripod because, of course, the worst of the damage happened where it attaches to the tripod. Today, I picked up (a very inexpensive) Nikon, which I'm hoping will be a decent choice.

Speaking of cameras, what do YOU guys recommend? I'm looking to (someday) make a more significant upgrade that would involve using lenses that a DSL would provide.

3. Dan + Shay, 'From the Ground Up' | Technically I think I discovered this song last month but considering I don't seem to talk about music much anymore (why is this I wonder? *she asks rhetorically*), I thought I'd add it here. What new music are you enjoying?

2. INSPYs 2016 | Yesterday we announced the 2016 INSPYswinners. What a year! As always, it was a wonderful experience working with the Advisory Board and of course, we’re ever so grateful to the judges for giving of their time and to the authors for writing the stories that inspired these awards. Our hats are off to you. 

Congrats... Patrick W. Carr, Varina Denman, Cathy Gohlke, Jody Hedlund, Carrie Stuart Parks, Kathryn Springer, and Sarah Sundin

4. Mr. Darcy | I finally met Mr. Darcy… or at least close. Yes, I added a Funko Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies style) to my menagerie of Funko Pops. One simply couldn’t have Lizzy Bennet without her Mr. Darcy. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
 
5. Pride + Prejudice + Zombies | This film came to DVD last month, but I didn’t sit down to watch it until June. If you missed it, I HAD FEELINGS about this one. Said feelings you can share, dismiss or raise your eyebrow over in my film and book reviews or the re-share I posted of the Romantic Moment I contributed to Silver Petticoat.  

…..Favorite Blog Posts…..
(Blog posts that, while not necessarily the most popular, were fun to write)
 
1. Captain America: Civil War (2016) | The titular name should be self-explanatory

2. Everything Pride and Prejudice and Zombies | For reasons (and no, I won't apologize for oversharing about this in this monthly recap *wink*)

3. Her One and Only by Becky Wade | A beautiful end to a beautiful series

4. Joy (2015) | A really interesting and well-acted true story with Jennifer Lawrence
 

…..Monthly Popular Posts (June 2016)…..


2. Joy (2015) | This was really, a very good film inspired by a true story.

3. The Convenient Groom (2016) | A darling Hallmark romcom based on Denise Hunter's novel.

4. Garage Sale Mystery: Deadly Room (2015) | A Hallmark mystery starring Lori Loughlin.

 

…..Popular Posts the Week of June 23rd-30th …..
 





 

…..Books Read | June 2016…..
 
   
  

…..Around the Interwebs…..
 
Silver Petticoat:  Following in the footsteps of the norm, I enjoyed a fun month at the amazing-ness that is Silver Petticoat. Let’s take a quick look at what I’ve reviewed or contributed.  

Articles and Lists | Only yesterday I previewed the summer 2016 months in YA fiction; earlier in the month I shared a list of 10 YA Contemporary Reads Perfect for the Beach (featuring authors like Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, Morgan Matson and others); and then because we all love Hallmark Channel, I took at look at their upcoming programs with a Previewing Hallmark Channel's Summer 2016 Programs article.
 
Book Reviews | Finally I read and reviewed Teri Brown's Velvet Undercover which I really enjoyed, and my second literature review spotlighted Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.



Film and TV Reviews | The only film I reviewed this month was Beyond the Mask, a fun swashbuckler of the inspirational variety; Houdini and Doyle and the final season of Mr. Selfridge were my two TV series reviews, and much as I didn't expect this (I even teared up), I'm going to miss Harry Selfridge for all his scandalous ways.

Romantic Moments | Much as I enjoyed writing these articles and reviews (as listed above), I think my two favorite feature opportunities with Silver Petticoat this month were the two articles I contributed to Silver Petticoat's "Romantic Moment" series. Those were Doctor Thorne's Frank and Mary and Pride and Prejudice and Zombie's Lizzy Bennet and Col. Darcy. *heart eyes*

As always, thanks to the editors of Silver Petticoat and my fellow contributors! Working with you all is always fun.
 

That’s an end to the month here at #FindingWonderlandBlog. What was your bookish, blogging or life like this past month? Did you discover any new (and amazing) authors or reads? How about new bloggers? Or must-try new finds?

Comment down below with your thoughts! As always, I’d love to chat with you.  

To my fellow American readers, I wish you a fabulous Independence Day weekend. 🎆 

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.
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Announcement | 2016 INSPY Award Winners



Following a behind-the-scenes snag which forced a delay, the INSPYs Advisory Board is now ready to announce the 2016 INSPY winners. Our sincere apologies for this delay, but we'd like to share with you the results of our judging panels.

Before we do, some shout-outs.

First to our six panels of three judges, thank you. Every year we are grateful to have bloggers apply to judge and give of their time and expertise in these blogger awards. We so appreciate that and thank you for the years some of you have put in. If you're new, we hope you enjoyed the experience.

Secondly congratulations to the authors who were finalists and the winning authors. It's because of your stories we can run this program.

Finally, to my fellow advisory board members, Jamie, Lydia, Rel and Stacy. Another year has come and gone, and as usual, I must thank you for the time you all put into these awards and no matter the work, ultimately how fun you make this experience. Overwhelming or not, nothing can take away from the fun we have each year.

Without further ado, let's discover the 2016 INSPY Award Winners.
____________
Following careful consideration, our incredible judging panels chose the 2016 INSPYs award winners in our seven respective categories. Following months of reading (by the Advisory Board and later, our judging panels), planning, author interviews and emails in access, the INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2016 INSPY Award Winners.
 
Below are the seven winning novels in their respective categories and a statement from our judges on the reason why they felt it was worth the award…


CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE / ROMANTIC SUSPENSE  

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer: In a category full of wonderful contemporary romances, we had a tough choice to make! Ultimately though, The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer stood out from the rest with its character growth and true-to-life issues as well as the author’s expressive way with words. Each character in the story was intriguing – from Gin and her daughter Raine, to firefighter Dan and Raine’s boyfriend Cody, to Dan’s big crazy family, Cody’s mom Evie, and even Gin’s coworkers. The romance between Dan and Gin was sweet and built slowly (but not too slowly), and the obstacles between them felt genuine, rather than just thrown in to create conflict. The relationship between Cody and Raine also felt real and sincere. Throughout this novel, Springer deftly dealt with true-to-life issues like single parenthood, teen pregnancy, poverty, and judgment within the church, showing how God can work through the hard things in life to bring healing and beauty. Really, that “realness” is what makes The Dandelion Field a perfect expression of the Inspy Awards’ mission statement, and it’s why we chose it for the 2016 award for Contemporary Romance. 


DEBUT FICTION

Jaded by Varina Denman: Representing the best in debut fiction, Varina Denman’s Jaded is a complex contemporary novel that goes against the security most in its genre exhibit. The faith issues it wrestles with, the efficient snapshot of small-town living, and the quiet yet meaningful prose collide to create a story with depth. The romance is refreshing, not because of the opposition it presents, but because of the characters. Its heroine, Ruthie is a beautifully flawed and relatable character, whose fall from grace makes the lessons of forgiveness impacting, a theme that will stay with the reader long after the final page.


GENERAL FICTION

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke: Our panel chose Secrets She Kept as winner of the General Fiction INSPY award for its deep emotional impact and for the subtly powerful way its theme of forgiveness is threaded into the story. We loved the way the dual timelines interwove and built on each other as secrets from the past were gradually revealed to modern day characters and to readers. Gohlke’s vivid storytelling and close attention to historical detail immersed us in the historical time period with Lieselotte, even as we discovered with Hannah just how profound an impact the past can have on the present. We found the lead characters endearing, and gladly cheered them on – Hannah toward self-discovery and a better understanding of her mother, and Lieselotte in her perseverance in following her conscience despite danger, betrayal, and hardship. The story as a whole impressed us all, and we are delighted to give the INSPY to this title.


HISTORICAL ROMANCE


Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin: Through Waters Deep was an inspiring story about two individuals who learn that they’re stronger together while trusting in God than they are going it alone. Loveable characters, some suspense and danger, an historical setting the comes alive, sweet inspirational moments, and a romance that builds from friendship, all combine to make a masterly woven story that is engaging from beginning to end. Perfect for Historical Christian Romance readers!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH SARAH SUNDIN

LITERATURE FOR YOUNG ADULTS

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund: An Uncertain Choice stands out with a breathlessly tangible medieval setting, vividly described characters that are constructed in such a way that invites readers to know them better with every page. The writing, the characters, and the romance; every nook and cranny of An Uncertain Choice was flawless! Every page is a masterpiece of relatable storytelling as expressed through its impactful POV. Beyond its beautiful prose, An Uncertain Choice boasts a delicious romance, with three dreamy and chivalrous knights (!).The novel has everything and more any reader could want in the YA historical, or any fictional world, genre!

MYSTERY / THRILLER

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks: We chose The Bones Will Speak because it draws readers in from the very beginning. Opening a suspense novel should involve a riveting and twisting plot that will hold reader’s attention until the final page. The Bones Will Speak provided just that. Its suspense is top notch, but the main character Gwen Marcey is what keeps us flipping the pages. The nail-biting suspense keeps readers engaged and the shroud of mystery surrounding the real culprit keeps the whodunit a guessing game. Fine writing, complex characterization and a great story make this book a winner.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH CARRIE STUART PARKS

SPECULATIVE FICTION

The Shock of Night by Patrick Carr: This novel seamlessly combined the best of fantasy and mystery to create a unique story all its own. The complex tale described a world very much like our own: a nation grown complacent in its undeserved blessings, flawed characters who sometimes failed despite their good intentions, and yet, also, the redemptive work of God through his servants. The protagonist is a man mired by doubts and fears but unbroken by the darkness around and within him. Instead, he pours his heart out in honest, broken prayer, and takes the example of his Lord to heart by striving against the odds to bring good into a world that often does not recognize it. Engulfing twists, delightful wit, and authentic discussions of tough moral quandaries make The Shock of the Night a book not to be missed.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH PATRICK W. CARR
 
________________________________________

We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title.
Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors!
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) – Or the Film in Which Darcy and Lizzy Kick Butt


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

There is a certain danger that lies at the surface when a writer messes with classic literature. After all, there is a reason something has come through generations and stood the test of time through wars, emerging as a distinct classic. While I respect this mindset and understand its reasoning and purpose, I am not one such person bothered by creative liberties taken with classic literature. Or at least I haven’t been.

Relinquishing her sword for a ring is not something Lizzy Bennet (Lily James) is poised to do. She’s a skilled warrior made so by the circumstances of her world which is infected by a mysterious illness that plagues the citizens of Meryton with the plague of the undead. Against this rising force the Bennet’s and many of them must fight against the zombies walking among them. Into their small community arrives the wealthy Charles Bingley (Douglas Booth), who takes a shine to Lizzy’s elder sister, Jane (Bella Heathcote). Among Bingley’s party is (much to the delight of Mrs. Bennet) the even wealthier Darcy (Sam Riley) who’s yearly income is double that of his friend.  

As Jane and Bingley form an attachment, Lizzy and Darcy undergo a sparring relationship that inspires Lizzy to rise and match each of Darcy’s intellect challenges. Unbeknownst to Lizzy, Darcy falls a little bit harder each time the wry Miss Bennet bests him. 

Finding the best place to start in discussing the pros and cons, good and bad, awesome and fail of this adaptation isn’t easy. Why? The reason is simple. Let’s face it, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is (kind of) a hot mess. And I adored (nearly) every second of it. Perhaps the inclusion of the “bad” is the best starting point since working up to positive leaves us with something to anticipate. The film started off in a way that left me gleeful. I loved the set up (Darcy in an epic duster coat SLAYS THINGS before five minutes are gone) and the fact that the opening credits take on a “story time” appearance which offers background. But once the first 15 minutes or thereabout have passed, I felt the story hits a stalemate.  

Though not wholly, this was part of the reason I shut the film off after 30-40 minutes in. The more practical reason being that I started watching it late at night, and no matter what I tell myself (things such as REAL book nerds don’t sleep), I do require some sleep. The script bookends itself to complement the novel whereas some of the middle portions widely differ, and I felt like this creates a stale environment and sometimes awkward transition into the next sequence of events. But after a few days away, I finally finished the film and let me tell you, my reaction took a 180 turn for the better. I became enthralled and somehow, charmed by the latter portion.  
ROMANTIC MOMENT OF THE WEEK | Lizzy Bennet and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Matt Smith

Where to begin? Allowing myself to share all of my fangirl feels would take a number of additional pages then I’ll allow myself because, yes, I wound up feeling that positively about this film. One such reason for this is the cast, who are exceptional. Lily James (War& Peace, Cinderella, Downton Abbey) again leads a strong group of young British talent and is, as usual, at her most charming. (Only this time she gets to play with a fiercer persona.) Then there is Charles Dance as Mr. Bennet, an actor also at the top of his game, and it was pleasant to see Douglas Booth (Romeo and Juliet, Great Expectations) in something again.
I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring. - Lizzy Bennet 
But it’s Matt Smith (Doctor Who) who steals the show as Parson Collins. He plays the role as if it were tailor-made for him; every (all too rare) scene he’s in is comedy gold. My only flip-flop casting choice lands on Sam Riley’s shoulders. As I already alluded too, I did love the opening sequence which Sam commands since he’s the only primary character involved, but as the film progressed, I doubted him a number of times. That said, I think by the end, I was leaning more in the “approve” camp and suspect with subsequent viewings I’ll be Team Darcy as played by Riley.

Looking beyond the cast, the rest of the production sparkles with magic, comedy and romance. The costumes are beautiful and I found myself liking the unique designs, and use of familiar patterns and style juxtaposed to create a steampunk vibe. The atmosphere is overall, darker, but that’s to be expected. What is unexpected is the great departure this script takes from the novel. For a story such as this, I approved of these changes though to say more would spoil the effect, so I won’t.  

If you step into this expecting it to be what it is – a literary mash-up that doesn’t take itself seriously, then I have a feeling you’ll enjoy this. If for no other reason (although methinks there are a ton), fans of Matt Smith should see this merely for his portrayal of Collins. True this isn’t as masterfully romantic (because there are more time constraints) and the zombie attacks might have been limited to fewer numbers, but I’d argue the final romantic scene between Darcy and Lizzy can hold its own quite beautifully (and it’s this that won me over to Riley’s Darcy). That, for me, is quite enough to overcome any minor disagreements. It made me look at characters with fresh eyes, which I respected and gave us plenty to love.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Everything from the Bennet women sitting in a parlor cleaning their muskets to Mrs. Bennet complimenting Lady Catherine on her pantaloons (yes, this happens) and finally, to that final swoony moment. This is a creative, witty gem of a costume drama that while not fit for everyone, is a delight from beginning to end for those of us OK with some rule-bending within the immortal words of Jane Austen.  ♥

CONTENT: There is some zombie violence, none of which is terribly graphic although the just-out-of-frame head bashing or head shots are certainly impacting. A couple engages in a literal sparring match when a proposal goes array. There might be some minor innuendoes. The film is rated PG13.
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Romantic Moment Feature | Lizzy Bennet and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy


Pride Prejudice and Zombies

Today, I have to confess, an obvious theme is present on Finding Wonderland. The reason being I'm reposting something from Silver Petticoat (because it's an epic moment that has to be duly spotlighted) and secondly, I've finally written a review of said film.

The spotlight feature is, of course, the literary mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

FILM REVIEW | Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Not only am I resharing this "romantic moment" from the film (which I finally watched), I'm also reviewing the film and for the purpose of archiving (which I'll admit, I'm terribly behind on), I'm re-posting my book review which was published on Silver Petticoat last week. Basically, if you'd like to find all of this zombie content fast, just search the 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' tag. It'll all be there.

But this feature is all about the romance - and seriously, no matter how unusual this mash up is, this proposal scene from Darcy (as played by Sam Riley) holds its own. The moment he speaketh the words... no, I won't repeat the words. Instead I'd best let you read about it should you like.

Suffice to say, my fangirl heart was a goner.

Romantic Moment of the Week | Lizzy Bennet and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

THE FILM: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
THE CHARACTERS: Lizzy Bennet (Lily James) and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Sam Riley)
THE MOMENT: Darcy proposes to Miss Bennet


Of all the reincarnations of Jane Austen’s classic love story Pride and Prejudice, perhaps there’s none as creative as that of the literary mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Based on the novel (of the same name) authored by Seth Grahame-Smith, and also bearing the name, Jane Austen, today’s romantic moment is from the recently released to DVD film adaptation, which I must confess I wound up adoring.

From here on out, be warned, there will be lots of SPOILERS.

The Lead-In: Lizzy Bennet and Colonel Darcy

This Lizzy Bennet and Darcy pairing are on an even more equal ground than Austen’s classic pits them. There they are matched wit for wit, but here they are equal to one another in their weaponry skills as experts. Their romance is comprised of beginnings that are much the same as Austen’s original, at a ball. It’s there that their eyes first lock and an instant spark of curiosity is born.

Following this, there are unexpected meetings in society, a (literal) sparring proposal, and an eloquent letter in which Darcy says the following:

Pride Prejudice and Zombies Proposal

“Of all weapons in the world, I now know love to be the most dangerous. For I have suffered a mortal wound. When did I fall so deeply under your spell, Ms. Bennet? I cannot fix the hour or the spot or the look or the words which lay the foundation. I was in the middle before I knew I began.” Continue Reading ➔

Pride Prejudice and Zombies Proposal
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen Seth Grahame-Smith – A Literary Mash up in Which Darcy and Lizzy (*gasp!*) Fight Zombies


About the Book:
Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Source: Bought
 Publication Date: 2009 (Reprint 2016)

Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Silver Petticoat | Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
A kind of “literary mash-up” and retelling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (of a sort) is sassy, creative fiction. Ironically, I found it as relevant to today’s society (is there anything that cannot be cured by a dose of infected zombies? *sarcasm*), as it might appeal to those who admire the old literary language that Austen wrote with such class and grace. Continue reading on Silver Petticoat Review.

ADAPTATION RECOMMENDATION

   Pride Prejudice Zombies

Of course, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has already been adapted earlier this year starring Lily James and Sam Riley. But if you like Austen mashups like Lost In Austen or Austenland, you might also enjoy this one although those aforementioned noticeably lack the addition of zombies. For those who like contemporary films, Warm Bodies is also an adorable rom-com involving zombies.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Book Review
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Top Ten Tuesday | Dynamic Duos and Teams


 
Believe it or not, I think I find the Top Ten Tuesday “freebie” weeks more challenging than those that already have a topic set. This week, the ladies tossed out the rules and asked us to either revisit a topic we missed but wanted to participate in or there is always the creative option open to us which is choosing topics we wish they’d already covered. 
 
Because I’m a total last-minute procrastinator, I didn’t want to take the time to dream something up that was, well, clever (or had the appearance of being so), which is why I’m taking the easy (or is it book nerd laziness?) and keeping things simple.
 
Broke and Bookish June 28th Topic 
FREEBIE WEEK – topic of your choice or go back and do one you missed!
 

My topic this week is “Dynamic Duos.” This was a topic way back when that I didn’t participate in. Below is a blend of “duos.” Everything from friendships to sleuthing partners, and even, some romantic pairings, because, let’s face it; we book nerds love getting caught up in a good romance, am I right? Some of these picks might be stretching it a bit as they’re not all “dynamic” in the traditional sense, but that’s part of the fun of Top Ten Tuesday; reading everyone’s twists and take on a topic. Also below are a variety of mediums (books, TV shows and films).   
 
(Apologies in advance for mistakes. I brought a whole new meaning to "last minute" with this week's Top Ten Tuesday post.)

Top Ten Tuesday June 28th
 

1. America Singer and Prince Maxon from The Selection by Kiera Cass | These two were (in my opinion) meant to be the moment they first spoke. But of course, I wasn't confident in it ending up this way. I still haven't finished the series, but spoiler girl that I am, I do know the ultimate conclusion. Amazon | Goodreads


2. Drew Farthering and Co. from the ‘Drew Farthering’ Series by Julianna Deering | This trio of crime-fighters are all wonderful characters! Goodreads
 
 
4. Jem Watts and Merinda Herringford from The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan | I know this one has made my list several times, but come on, could I really make this (topic) list and not include Jem and Merinda!? I don’t think so. They do, after all, reinvent the Sherlock and Watson canon. Amazon | Goodreads
 
 
4. Jo March and Laurie from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott | Okay, much to my shame, I don’t think I’ve read this novel before. But whatever, I love these two together in the 1994 film adaptation.
 
 
5. Kurt Weller and Jane from Blindspot (NBC) | I adore these two. They're not only well matched in the intellect and combat aspect of their work, they have an undeniable chemistry that's amazing.
 
 
6. Lizzy Bennet and Col. Fitzwilliam Darcy from the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies | Of course, we all love the classic Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, but these two? There is a new energy and “magic” in their relationship that is lost in the classic version.
 
 
7. Lucy Ailing and Helen from The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay | I loved the sweet relationship that developed between the wise Helen and the confused (and in need of wisdom) Lucy in Katherine Reay’s latest masterpiece. Their relationship mirrors a grandmother/granddaughter bond or if you’re curious about an image you can hold on to, think of the relationship between Claire and Sophie in the film Letters to Juliet. Amazon | Goodreads 

 
8. Makenna and Veronica from Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon | Who doesn’t love a dynamic bestie duo? These two are fabulous together. Much as I adore the romance in novels, I think I actually prefer their friendship as the “driving” theme of these novels over their respective romantic relationships. Amazon | Goodreads
 
 
9. Natasha Romanaff and Clint Barton from The Avengers | These two aren’t a team in the sense that they make up the whole of the Avengers, but they are paired off a lot and I love their easy-going friendship.  

 
10. Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak from Arrow (CW) | I feel like some of the Olicity shippers are dying out, but I'm not one of them. I still adore these two both as members of Team Arrow, fighting-for-the-good against villains, and as a couple. If there is a fault line in their coupling, this lies directly on the doorstep of the writers.
 
 
11. Peggy Carter and Jarvis from Agent Carter (ABC) | Is there any crime-fighting duo cooler than these two?
 
 
12. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson from Sherlock (BBC) | I adore this Holmes and Watson duo as I do CBS’ Elementary. But at the end of the day, this show probably overwhelms the former because there’s a.) Benedict Cumberbatch, who is amazing and b.) it’s from the BBC and is therefore, properly British!

 
13. Tris Prior and Four from Divergent | I’ve not read the books by Veronica Roth, but I love the kick-butt Trip and Four – and their romance is a great improvement on the YA trope.
 
  
14. Veronica Mars and Wallace Fennal from Veronica Mars (WB / Movie Adaptation) | Who doesn’t love these besties!? I love how Veronica bullies Wallace into doing favors for her and in return, Wallace was the best, most loyal friend Veronica could ask for (although I will admit, he was often the better friend).

What topic did you chose to feature in this week’s “freebie” Top Ten Tuesday? Have you read any of these novels? Or do you like any of these "dynamic duos"? Who would be cast as your favorites in this topic? Comment down below with your bookish (or other conversational) thoughts and if you like, please leave your Top Ten Tuesday links! I’d be happy to visit your meme.  
 
Thank you, as always, for visiting Finding Wonderland.
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Book Cover Love | Epic Reads Edition


Today, Epic Reads revealed a BUNCH of their winter 2017 covers. I'm sharing them here too because there are some I'm really curious about. Which of these below are you most interested in? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the covers, stories and any other bookish thoughts you have!

A few that stood out to me? Caroline Leech's debut! A YA novel in such a setting is (by my knowledge) unexpected, so reading this novel will be a priority to me. Of course, I also love all of the fairytale-esque novels appearing on this list, including a new novel by Alex Flinn.

Make sure to share YOUR thoughts down below.

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
 
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

If I Stay meets House of Cards in this highly original, beautifully written, and totally compelling realistic contemporary debut novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who uses her ability to see memories attached to objects to piece together how her older brother died.

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Soon Megan finds herself drawn into a world of violent crime artifacts and painful national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s alluring friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance. - March 2017, EpicReads.com


Dare You by Jennifer Brown

Dare You by Jennifer Brown - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

In the second book of the suspenseful Shade Me trilogy, Nikki Kill becomes embroiled in another mystery where only her synesthesia can help her unravel the dark truth.

Nikki Kill didn’t realize that trying to find out who killed Peyton Hollis would tangle her in a web of dangerous family secrets that would rock her identity to the core. But now that Nikki knows the truth, the all-powerful Hollises want to frame her for Peyton’s murder.

And now Nikki’s only chance at escaping the cold black bars of prison or the crimson grip of death is teaming up with the enigmatic Detective Martinez and relying on an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of clues….


The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other. - February 2017, EpicReads.com


Freedom’s Slave by Heather Demetrios
 
Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Freedom’s Slave is the exhilarating final book in the Dark Caravan Cycle—a modern jinni fantasy-adventure trilogy.

An Empress Fighting for Her Crown

After three long years in exile, Nalia is ready to return to her homeland and sit on the throne that is rightfully hers. But the gods might have other plans. Forced to endure untold horrors on the journey to Arjinna, Nalia learns that it will take more than cutting down the tyrant Calar to get her crown.

An Army Fighting to Survive

Raif’s return to Arjinna as the commander of the revolution against Calar and her army isn’t as smooth as he’d hoped. Though he has more soldiers than ever before, his love for Nalia is losing him the trust of his comrades…and the war. But little does the resistance know that insurrection is brewing among Calar’s own ranks—and from the one person she trusts the most.

A Land Worth Fighting for

Arjinna is dying—Calar’s evil experiments with dark magic and the strength of her own psychic powers threaten to destroy the land of the jinn. Is Nalia and Raif’s enduring love enough to transform and rescue their homeland? Will they be willing to save the realm, no matter the cost? - February 2017, EpicReads.com


Run the Risk by Allison van Diepen
 
Run the Risk by Allison van Diepen - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Set in the same world as On the Edge and Light of Day, Run the Risk is a romantic, gritty story about the dangers one girl faces to save the people she loves.

Grace has done her best to move on since her ex-boyfriend, Mateo, chose gang life over her. But even though years have passed, she hasn’t forgotten him—especially since she’s seen her younger brother, Alex, drawn to a life on the streets. She can’t bear to think of Alex making the same mistakes as Mateo, but she feels him slipping away.

So when Mateo suddenly resurfaces, insisting he’s left gang life behind him, Grace sees an opportunity. Maybe he could be the one to reach Alex and pull him away from the edge. She tells herself she’s only talking to Mateo again because of Alex, but her feelings quickly return. Can she ever trust Mateo again? And is saving her brother worth risking a broken heart? With everyone she loves in danger, Grace must decide how much to sacrifice before it’s too late. - April 2017, EpicReads.com


Beheld by Alex Flinn
 
Beheld by Alex Flinn - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

#1 New York Times bestselling YA author Alex Flinn is back with magical twists on four romantic fairy-tale favorites, each featuring a little help from Kendra, the witch from Beastly, as she searches through cities and centuries for her own lost love.

Kendra first beheld James over three hundred years ago. Since then, she’s tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks.

Being a powerful witch, she has survived it all. But immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she had met centuries ago. With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love—and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way. - January 2017, EpicReads.com


Silver Stars by Michael Grant
 
Silver Stars by Michael Grant - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

The summer of 1943, World War II. With heavy memories of combat, Frangie, Rainy, Rio, and the rest of the American army are moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily.

The women won’t conquer Italy alone. They are not heroes for fighting alongside their brothers—they are soldiers. But Frangie, Rainy, Rio, and the millions of brave females fighting for their country have become a symbol in the fight for equality. They will brave terrible conditions in an endless siege; they will fight to find themselves on the front lines of WWII; and they will come face-to-face with the brutality of war until they win or die. - January 2017, EpicReads.com


The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. - March 2017, Goodreads


The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

The End of Our Story by Meg Haston - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Meg Haston's romantic and thrilling new YA novel explores a star-crossed high school relationship in a tale rife with deeply buried secrets and shocking revelations.

Bridge and Wil have been entangled in each other’s lives for years. Under the white-hot Florida sun, they went from kids daring each other to swim past the breakers to teenagers stealing kisses between classes. But when Bridge betrayed Wil during their junior year, she shattered his heart and their relationship along with it.

Then Wil’s family suffers a violent loss, and Bridge rushes back to Wil’s side. As they struggle to heal old wounds and start falling for each other all over again, Bridge and Wil discover just how much has changed in the past year. As the fierce current of tragedy threatens to pull them under, they must learn how to swim on their own—or risk drowning together. - Goodreads, April 2017


The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads
One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues in the sequel and conclusion to the Great Hunt duology by New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins.

Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm for something far more dangerous, a Lashed enemy veiled in beauty, deception, and a vengeance passed down through generations: Rozaria Rocato. And she’s offering the hunter Paxton Seabolt power and acceptance he could never receive in his homeland. Pax must decide how far he’s willing to go under her tutelage, knowing she is the opponent of his true love Princess Aerity.

Aerity believes that without allowing the Lashed to return to the kingdom, revolt is inevitable. And though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

But as dire circumstances strike the royal family, matters of the castle are left in Aerity’s hands. And though her feelings for Pax are strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger. She must put aside her desires to grasp the reins, and take actions that have the potential to save or destroy her people. - March 2017, EpicReads.com


Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
 
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is an enthralling, wholly original reimagining of a classic faerie story.

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

While Isabelle crosses land and sea, the kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow and whispers of revolt. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted realm, where a mysterious hunter may hold the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire is a tour de force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines, from a writer destined to be a major voice in YA. - April 2017, EpicReads.com


Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler’s and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit. - February 2017, EpicReads.com


Literally by Lucy Keating
 
Literally by Lucy Keating - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads
A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.
But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? - April 2017, EpicReads.com


Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait for Me by Caroline Leech - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Set in Scotland during WWII, Wait for Me features a forbidden romance between a Scottish girl and a German POW, from debut author Caroline Leech.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate. - January 2017, EpicReads.com


Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

This is the final book in the epic trilogy that began with Forbidden and Banished. Jayden and Kadesh’s love will be put to the ultimate test as they fight a war to save their Mesopotamian kingdom.

After tragedy strikes on the day they were to wed, Jayden must support Kadesh as he ascends the throne and becomes king of Sariba. But with the dark priestess Aliyah conspiring to control the crown, and the arrival of Horeb, Jayden’s former betrothed, Kadesh’s kingdom, as well as his status as king, is at stake.

Jayden knows that the time to be merciful has come and gone, and that some enemies can only be halted by death. Now she and Kadesh must prepare to fight not only for their love, but also for their kingdom. - February 2017, EpicReads.com


Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

The twisted reimagining of the Queen of Hearts origin story continues in Blood of Wonderland.
Dinah has been exiled from Wonderland. The vicious father she always feared has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her.

Now hiding in the lush and mysterious Twisted Wood with only her war steed at her side, Dinah is faced with a choice: leave Wonderland forever or stay and fight her father for the throne.

When a chance encounter with one of her father’s long-lost enemies brings Dinah more allies than she ever could have imagined, war starts to feel inevitable. But before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny—no matter how dark those truths may be.

Revolution is rising in Wonderland. Dinah’s battle has begun. - January 2017, EpicReads.com


The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier

The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.

Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex.

Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for?

In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes. - April 2017, EpicReads.com


Hunted by Meagan Spooner
 
Hunted by Meagan Spooner - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast? - March 2017, EpicReads.com


Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was not meant to be queen. Not only was she twenty-third in line to the crown, she never had any interest in the politics and intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre unscathed, but she is far from safe. With many of the surviving courtiers unwilling to accept her as their queen and her councillors attempting to control her every move, Freya will need to use all of her ingenuity to prove that she is the rightful heir. And while she’s found an unlikely ally in the dashing and enigmatic William Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of the king, with the mystery of who poisoned the king still unsolved, Freya knows that she can’t trust anyone…not even the person she’s begun to develop feelings for.

If she hopes to survive, Freya must decide who to trust, uncover the truth of the deaths that brought her to power, and figure out how to use her own strengths to protect her throne. - February 2017, EpicReads.com


100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

100 Hours by Rachel Vincent - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.
But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make it out alive. - March 2015, EpicReads.com


Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr - The Official Harper Winter 2017 Cover Reveal List via Epic Reads

Gem & Dixie is the new novel from renowned young adult author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr—a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.

Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table; and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie, on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she's tried so hard to keep.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr has written her most personal and affecting book yet—an unforgettable story of breaking apart and of coming together again. - Goodreads, April 2017
 


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